Commerce and Industry Ministry Proposes Framework to Foster Innovation

The Indian government is considering implementing a separate strategy for deep tech firms as part of the forthcoming Union Budget, which will be announced in July 2024. This project, supported by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, intends to boost innovation in India’s startup ecosystem by tackling the unique issues that deep tech companies face.

A Catalyst for Societal Progress

Deep tech startups strive to provide game-changing solutions based on cutting-edge scientific and technology advances. These ideas have the ability to disrupt entire industries while also addressing major societal concerns. The Indian government understands the transformative power of deep technology and its potential to push the country’s knowledge-based economy.

The Need for a Supportive Ecosystem

A significant barrier for deep tech startups lies in the conversion of their innovations into intellectual property (IP). Extensive research and development (R&D) efforts are often required to achieve this, necessitating robust financial backing and supportive infrastructure.

The proposed deep tech startup strategy seeks to create an environment that encourages innovation and allows these businesses to overcome these obstacles. By developing clear policy frameworks, the government seeks to attract investments, streamline R&D procedures, and foster a talent pool capable of deep tech development.

Draft Policy Paves the Way for Comprehensive Support

In July 2023, a draft National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP) was unveiled to gather stakeholder feedback. This draft policy outlines a comprehensive approach to address the specific needs of deep tech startups. Key focus areas include:

  • Strengthening the R&D Ecosystem: The policy emphasizes the importance of fostering an environment that encourages scientific breakthroughs and technological advancements. This will likely involve increased funding for R&D initiatives, collaborative research programs between academia and industry, and the development of advanced research infrastructure.
  • Boosting Knowledge-Driven Economy: The NDTSP recognizes the critical role of deep tech in propelling India’s transition towards a knowledge-driven economy. The policy framework is expected to incentivize the creation and commercialization of deep tech solutions, ultimately contributing to economic growth and job creation.
  • Fostering IP Creation and Protection: As mentioned previously, IP creation is a crucial aspect for deep tech startups. The NDTSP is likely to include measures to streamline the IP registration process, provide financial assistance for IP protection costs, and raise awareness about the importance of intellectual property rights.
  • Addressing Funding Gaps: Deep tech ventures often require significant upfront investment due to the extensive R&D involved. The NDTSP is expected to propose solutions to bridge the funding gap, potentially including tax benefits for investors in deep tech companies, the creation of dedicated deep tech investment funds, and facilitating access to government grants.
  • Building Talent and Infrastructure: A skilled workforce is essential for the success of the deep tech sector. The policy framework may outline initiatives to develop specialized educational programs in critical deep tech domains, encourage industry-academia partnerships for skills development, and invest in building state-of-the-art research and development infrastructure.

Industry Optimistic About Policy Impact

Industry leaders are optimistic about the potential benefits of a specialized deep tech startup policy. At the Startup Mahakumbh program in March 2024, Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Rajesh Kumar Singh emphasized the government’s commitment to promoting the deep tech ecosystem. He stated that the policy framework was nearing completion and expressed hope for its timely adoption.

The potential establishment of “funds of funds” specifically catering to deep tech startups has also been met with enthusiasm. These dedicated funds would provide a much-needed source of capital for early-stage deep tech ventures, enabling them to translate their innovative ideas into commercially viable products and services.

Aligning with PM-STIAC Recommendations

The proposed deep tech startup policy aligns with the recommendations outlined by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) during its 21st meeting in July 2022. The PM-STIAC had emphasized the need for a comprehensive policy framework to address the specific requirements of the Indian deep tech ecosystem. The creation of a national consortium and a working group to guide policy development was also recommended by the PM-STIAC.

The prospective introduction of a specific deep tech startup strategy demonstrates the Indian government’s commitment to developing a thriving deep tech ecosystem. By tackling the unique challenges that deep tech businesses face, the policy framework has the potential to unleash a wave of innovative solutions that can drive India’s economic growth and address significant societal challenges.

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Riya Sen, an experienced editor at Atom News, is passionate about health and politics reporting. Riya Sen commitment to promoting well-being and highlighting political developments adds a valuable dimension to our coverage, ensuring our readers stay informed and engaged in current affairs.